[Beowulf] Re: EMC, anyone?

Jeffrey B. Layton laytonjb at comcast.net
Tue Dec 9 17:56:04 EST 2003


   We tried using EMC for storage for one of our
cluster at work. We have a node in the cluster (we
called it the IO node) that was SAN attached to an
EMC SAN. Then that space was NFS exported
throughout the cluster (288 nodes in total).
   Initially we exported the NFS storage over
Myrinet. After some problems we tried it over
   The end result was that we never got it to work
correctly. We had filesystems that would just
disappear from the IO node and then reappear. We
had lots of file corruptions and files lost. My favorite
was the 2 TB filesystem that had to be fsck (man
that took a long time). We had EMC folks in, Dell
people in (they supplied the EMC certified IO node)
and the cluster vendor in. No one could ever figure
out the problems although the cluster vendor was
able to help the situations some (Dell and EMC
really did nothing to help). Finally, we ended up
taking the IO node out of the cluster and only
NFS mounting it on the master node. We also
forced people to run using the local hard drives and
not over NFS. This helped things, but we still had
problems from time to time.
   The ultimate solution was to convert the IO node
to a NAS box with attached storage.
   Good Luck with your project!


>Our group has an opportunity that few would pass up - more or less free
>storage.  Our parent organization is preparing to purchase a large amount of
>EMC storage, the configuration of which is not yet nailed down.  We are
>investigating the potential to be the recipients of part of that storage,
>and (crossing fingers) no one has mentioned the dreaded chargeback word yet.
>Obviously, we would be thrilled to gain access to TBs of free storage, so we
>can spend more of our budget on people and compute platforms.
>Naturally, the EMC reps are plying us with lots of jargon, PR, white papers,
>and so on explaining why their technology is the perfect fit for us.
>However, I am bothered by the fact that EMC does not have a booth at SC each
>year, and I do not see them mentioned in the HPC trade rags.  Makes me think
>that they don't really have the technology and support tailored for the HPC
>We, of course, are doing due diligence on the business case side, matching
>our needs with their numbers.  My question to this group is "Do any of you
>use EMC for your HPC storage?"  If so, how?  Been happy with it?
>We do primarily models with heavy latency dependency (meteorological, with
>CMAQ and MM5).  This will not be the near-line storage, but rather NAS
>attached to HiPPI or gigE.
>Thanks in advance,
>Dave Walters
>Project Manager, SRA
>Beowulf mailing list, Beowulf at beowulf.org
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